Coaching, Mentoring and Mediation

The poster below summarises the difference between Coaching, Mentoring and Mediation. It is important to understand the difference. Whether you want support sorting out your life (Coaching) or help navigating the best route (Mentoring) or a neutral person who assists the people involved in the negotiation of their differences (Mediation)


Coaching is a process that aims to improve performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future. Good coaches believe that the individual always has ideas and opportunities to resolve whatever is holding them back but understands that they may need help to define their goals, set their path, and achieve their success. Coaching is about listening, reflecting, asking questions and unlocking YOUR potential.

In summary: Coaching is about your thinking and feeling, and the role of the coach is to support these and growth towards the goals, habits and behaviours that you set for yourself.


Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be. Mentoring is non-evaluative, while coaching is based on measuring performance change. Due to the personal nature of mentoring, a mentor will more often than not draw on their personal experiences and expertise to help their mentee. This could be in the form of sharing a story that taught them a valuable lesson, or a challenge they overcame in their career. 

In summary: Mentoring is about your journey and where you want to get to. The role of the mentor is to support that journey with ideas, resources, advice although you remain responsible for your own choices, decisions and actions.


Mediation is a process wherein the parties meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral person who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. Mediation leaves the decision power totally and strictly with the parties. The mediator does not decide what is “fair” or “right,” does not assess blame nor render an opinion on the merits or chances of success if the case were litigated. Rather, the mediator acts as a catalyst between opposing interests attempting to bring them together by defining issues and eliminating obstacles to communication, while moderating and guiding the process to avoid confrontation. The mediator will, however, seek concessions from each side during the mediation process. Even if people do not resolve the dispute, mediation frequently will “bring out” the real issues and enhance communications between the parties, fostering an improved working relationship.

In summary: Mediation is about finding an outcome, a result, an agreement that is acceptable to the people involved in a dispute or breakdown.

Some resources

About your Coach, Mentor or Mediator

A sample Coaching Agreement including ethics, confidentiality etc.